Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Nearman staffer snags his House seat

July 7, 2021 at 3:23pm

City of Salem to reopen to in-person services by July 19

Salem’s City Hall, municipal court, Salem Police Department and Center 50+ will open to in-person services by July 19 after Gov. Kate Brown lifted nearly all pandemic restrictions June 30.

People visiting those buildings, vaccinated or not, aren’t required to wear masks, the city said in a news release.

The Salem Public Library reopened its temporary Broadway location for in-person services Tuesday.

City Manager Steve Powers said it was his pleasure to welcome people back to City Hall after a 15-month closure. Most city services, aside from fire, police and public works, went virtual over the last year.

“Looking back, it is remarkable to see the strides our city departments made, switching to hybrid workstations, implementing virtual public meetings, and developing digital communication strategies to streamline our services,” Powers said in a prepared statement.

Salem will continue to offer online access to services, the release said. 

-Saphara Harrell

July 7, 2021 at 2:24pm

Keizer police arrest man suspected in June 25 shooting

Keizer police arrested a west Salem man Wednesday on attempted murder charges stemming from a June 25 shooting.

On June 25 around 8 p.m., Keizer police responded to a report of shots fired near North River Road and North Cummings Lane, according to a news release.

Officers found an 18-year-old woman had a gunshot wound to her right leg. Her infant was in the car at the time of the shooting but was not injured, police said.

Lt. Trevor Wenning, Keizer police spokesman, said the driver, a 20-year-old man, wasn't injured.

The woman was taken to Salem Hospital. Police interviewed the driver at the station, and said he identified the shooter as Christian Diaz.

Diaz, 20, was arrested in west Salem around 11 a.m. Wednesday.

He is charged with three counts of first-degree attempted murder, three counts of first-degree attempted assault, one count of second-degree assault and unlawful weapon use.

Diaz was taken to the Marion County Jail. 

-Saphara Harrell

July 7, 2021 at 10:12am

Nearman staffer Anna Scharf will replace ousted representative in Salem

House District 23 will be represented in Salem by Anna Scharf, county commissioners from Polk, Marion, Benton and Yamhill counties decided on Tuesday. 

Scharf, a staffer in the office of dismissed representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence), beat out four other candidates: former Dallas City Councilor Micky Garus, former Congressman Jim Bunn, fellow Republican John Swanson and Nearman.

The district sits largely within Polk County and covers Dallas and Independence, as well as a slice of Marion County south of Salem. In Oregon, the party that last controlled a seat in the legislature nominates up to five candidates to fill a vacancy. County commissioners in the area covered by the district get the final vote.

Touting her experience, Sharf told commissioners during the two hour meeting that she and other staffers remained in Nearman’s office after he was expelled on June 10 for allowing protestors into the Capitol because residents of the district “lost their vote, they didn’t lose their representation.”

Nearman faces criminal charges in Marion County for his part in allowing protestors into the building during a December riot. He would not “bring home the bacon” to the district if sent back to his seat but instead would “stand up to powerful people.” 

Yamhill County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer argued against a vote for Nearman, who aided her in her own campaign, noting that House Speaker Tina Kotek, a Democrat, may not allow him to serve on committees or introduce his own bills if reappointed.

“A vote to send Nearman back to Salem is a vote effectively saying we don’t care House District 23 won’t have active representation,” Berschauer said. 

Scharf garnered nine votes, Swanson one and Nearman one.  Commissioners from Polk and Marion counties all cast their vote for Scharf. 

After being sworn in, Scharf will complete the remainder of Nearman’s term which equates to about 18 months.

-Caitlyn May